Innovation has always been a key driver behind Daimler's sustained success. The company is undisputed as the world's most innovative manufacturer in the automotive industry. Lab1886 was launched in 2007 by the name Daimler Business Innovation. Since then, the Lab has been supporting the company with innovative business models to master the challenges of the future. Lab1886 stands for the promise and commitment to consistently develop the best products and services for Daimler customers. Based on the new CASE corporate strategy, Lab1886 is moving into the next dimension of mobility.
Innovation is a way of placing visionary ideas on solid ground, questioning conventional principles – and changing them if necessary. This demands courage, perseverance, and a place to work on things – like a garage. When Gottlieb Daimler left his job at the Gasmotorenfabrik Deutz, no one could imagine that in 1886 he would reinvent mobility in a garage.
Lab1886 is a magnet for attracting talent from the Daimler Group and from organizations across the globe. As a worldwide innovation network with offices in Stuttgart, Berlin, Beijing, and Sunnyvale (Silicon Valley), we have long since become a recognized force among the world's innovation centers. This has a lot to do with the outstanding team spirit of our employees. People who work here understand that innovation comes from teamwork. Our unconventional approach to developing innovative business models from new ideas also plays a key role. Only the best ideas are selected for further development. The work in our incubator is supported by defined milestones and transparent processes. If an idea fails this stress test – i.e. if a project is not scalable or cannot achieve the defined targets in the foreseeable future – it is rejected. The motivation to create truly marketable products and services is rewarded through a profit-sharing scheme. This gives Lab1886 its own special appeal by intelligently combining the company's know-how with the speed and culture of start-ups.
Innovation is not a matter of coincidence. It follows a defined plan. Driven by the passion to make the unimaginable feasible, it is important to experiment with conventional knowledge and reconfigure it. The Lab1886 philosophy is divided into three successive phases: Ideation, Incubation, Commercialization.
Like STARTUP AUTOBAHN, Lab1886 plays a key role in the Daimler global innovation network. These two complementary concepts are like Yin and Yang. Both work along the four pillars of the new CASE corporate strategy, which focuses on the mobility of the future. We define this approach based on four main themes: Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Service, and Electric Drive. STARTUP AUTOBAHN, an initiative aimed at linking engineering in Stuttgart to the drive of Silicon Valley, is an assessment center that examines and promotes independent start-ups from outside the company. Lab1886 is the matching counterpart. Comparable to a trainee program that serves as a global incubation network to focus more on its own employees and the most disruptive ideas. Only the best ideas and talents are promoted, in-house and outside of the company. For example, ideas generated by STARTUP AUTOBAHN or one of our 280,000 employees can be added to the incubator and converted into real business models. Working together, they support the transformation of Daimler from a car manufacturer to a leading mobility provider in the future.